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  The Art of the Piano

My Approach

My goal is to help each student towards a true unfoldment of his or her own musical potential. I use a process that is challenging, fun, and rewarding. 


Each weekly lesson provides a step-by-step process with specific goals and objectives. Using music flashcards, music theory and technical exercises students gain a solid understanding of music. 


Once these fundamentals have been established, students are able to choose from a vast collection of musical pieces and styles. This freedom of choice really makes music come alive.


It's amazing how much can be learned from music: Self-discipline and confidence, the power of concentration, patience, perseverance, and the joy of success.
















• Learn Pop, Jazz, Classical and Rock

• 25+ years teaching experience

• All ages and levels welcome


• Se habla Español

 Learn music theory, note reading,
  scales, chords and more


• Create original music compositions
  and arrangements using professional
  music production software including
  Logic Pro X

Thank you for your interest in exploring the magical language iof music with me. I've included some additional information below about my rates, my philosophy and studio. Please read it over and let me know if you have any questions: Tuition: Please note I do not offer 30 minute lessons. 30 minute lessons are simply too brief for us to go into the deeper aspects of discovering the language of music. My 45 and 60 minute rate are as follows: $93 for a 45 minute lesson. $124 for a 60 minute lesson. If the listed rates above are beyond your budgetary needs, I do offer a sliding scale for those who need it. The last thing I want is for students to not do lessons simply because of finances. For those who are able to pay the full rate, your contribution aids in my ability to help those who may not be able to pay the full tuition. It also helps me to be able to continue to live and thrive in beautiful Encinitas which as we all know is an expensive area to live in. 45 minute sliding scale: Full Rate: $93 per 45 minute session Discount Rate 1: $88 per 45 minute session Discount Rate 2: $83 per 45 minute session Discount Rate 3: $78 per 45 minute session 60 minute sliding scale: Full Rate: $124 per 60 minute session Discount Rate 1: $118 per 60 minute session Discount Rate 2: $110 per 60 minute session Discount Rate 3: $102 per 60 minute session Also, in order to offset inflation and the increasing costs of living in beautiful San Diego, I will be doing a 3% rate increase or the current rate of inflation for the current year (whichever is greater) at the beginning of each school year for the new Fall semester, rounded to the nearest dollar. I do offer a complementary 30 to 45 minute intro lesson. The main requirements for us to schedule a session is to make sure you already have a keyboard or piano at home and your ability to be consistent in coming to weekly lessons. In the early stages of learning anything new, the rate of forgetting is very rapid, therefore consistency and support at home in developing positive practice habits is an essential part for success in anyone’s musical journey. Approach and Studio Philosophy This year marks 25 years that I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with students of all ages and skill levels, learning everything from jazz and pop to rock and classical music. Through the thousands of hours I’ve spent with students, there is one pattern that connects with everyone I’ve ever worked with: Each student is unique. Just like every individual is made up of unique physical and personality traits, so is our musical learning blueprint unique to each one of us. The way our left and right hemispheres process, perceive and connects with the music-making process in our brains is an unbelievable tool for understanding ourselves, connecting to the intuitive mind and learning to tap into the superior intelligence of our bodies through music. We live in a time of infinite possibilities. The beauty of San Diego allows for many of us to experience the ocean at Swami’s Beach, the mountains of Mt. Laguna, the desert beauty of Joshua Tree… The endless landscapes are all within an hour or two of each other. Then there is soccer and karate… surfing and skateboarding… Spanish and chess club… reading the latest best-selling books or planning our next summer adventures.  I mention all of this in part to point out that we live in a unique moment in history with so many options and possibilities at our fingertips. Yet with all of these options, focus and clarity, understanding what is most important has to be more clear to us than ever. Otherwise, we may end up burned out and over-scheduled.  “Music is the universal language of human-kind” - Henry Wadsworth When I was 9 years old, I moved to the US from Mexico. I did not speak a word of English. And yet within 18 months, I was transferred to my home school and was speaking English fluently.  The fact of the matter is that a young person’s brain is a lot more malleable and able to absorb new information on a much deeper level than an adult’s brain. Sorry adults… but a young person’s brain is superior in many ways! That being said, the secret to language is daily exposure, repetition and consistency. From this framework, our brains are able to learn through trial and error… Mistakes are not a source of judgement. “My best teacher is my last mistake” - Unknown When a child says “I hungry” we don’t shame them into feeling guilty because they didn’t say: “I am hungry.” This process of learning is simply a way for complex data sets to be introduced into the super-computer of our minds, and from there… over time, the complex rules of English (or any language) are gradually and intuitively integrated into our being. Over time, we are thus able to instantly read and write, without having to think of all the grammatical rules that make up our complex spoken language system. Music is the same… Yet most of us don’t “speak” music for 12 to 16 hours per day.  And so this brings me to an important point: The musical journey requires daily support and application in order for the brain to connect the complex neurological patterns that are hidden beneath the surface… “I would teach children music, physics and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.” - Plato Over time, the different layers of music: rhythm, notes, note values, dynamics, fingering, pedaling, expression… begin to form deeper and more complex neural pathways that lead us to deeper musical connections and self-expression. For those that choose to embark on this journey, you will discover the most loyal of friends… Her name is MUSIC! Neural-science, optimizing our unique learning blueprint, the hidden patterns in music and in life… these and many other subjects are themes that I constantly discover, explore and share with my students. Yet music is hard… Unlike most activities that we do, music uses both sides of our brain. It demands deep focus and concentration while at the same time challenging us to remain calm and fully in the present moment. Music is a tool. A magic wand that helps us to find a balance between the mind and the heart. It challenges us to experiment with effort and surrender… It helps us to not just learn notes, but to learn about ourselves.  Let me know if you have any questions! Warm regards,  Rod Contreras

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